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Is investing in wine tourism the key to boosting Europe’s rural development plans?

UNWTO 5th conference on wine tourism

At the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism, a key symposium, held this year in Portugal, experts in wine and tourism industries will discuss the potential that enotourism has for boosting rural development. 

Wine tourism is already a well-established industry in California, bringing in an estimated $2 billion dollars annually (Forbes 2017). In Europe, the majority of wine tourism is focussed around France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. But the tourism sector has potential to branch into other celebrated  wine-making regions, such as the Balkan, the Adriatic and other eastern European countries – which often do not get a share of the limelight when it comes to wine tourism.

The UNWTO conference, in conjunction with the Portuguese government, will be held in hybrid format with in person and virtual sessions.

The focus of the event will be on the contribution of wine tourism to social and economic regional integration and its great potential to generate development opportunities in rural destinations.

Wine tourism to accelerate growth and development of rural communities is something which has been in focus over the last decade. However, wine tourism should not be exclusively the tasting and selling of wines in rural communities, but rather linked in with gastronomic, natural, historical, entertainment and all other attractions in a particular rural destination. 

UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili says: “It is now more important than ever to support wine tourism and I am confident that this event will represent a unique opportunity to share experiences that face up these challenging times and place the two sectors at the center of recovery, particularly for the benefit of rural communities. I thank Portugal’s support to accelerate the recovery of the sector.”

When talking to UNWTO, The Portuguese Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, said: “As one of the top destinations in wine tourism, which is a main strategic asset for Portugal due to its ability to attract a highly qualified tourist with high purchasing power, allowing for multiple attraction anchors throughout the territory and throughout the year, thus contributing to territorial cohesion and reducing seasonality.” 

He continued: ”Wine tourism’s development in central in the Recovery Plan (Reactivate Tourism | Build the Future) for the Tourism sector but the dynamization of this product also has a specific and dedicated action plan. The aforementioned Plan will contribute to the enhancement of wine tourism, wine itself and will be a very important contribution to creating more value and employment in these regions. 

There are over 800 records on wine tourism on Leisure Tourism, using the search: ("wine tourism") AND "rural" results in 173 records.

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • Jesslyn Thay
  • Date
  • 08 July 2021
  • Source
  • Subject(s)
  • Hospitality Sector
  • Tourism